NHL ETAs for Los Angeles Kings' 2014 Draft Picks
The Los Angeles Kings entered the 2014 NHL draft as Stanley Cup champions and with nine picks were tied for the most in the draft. But after trading Linden Vey to the Vancouver Canucks, the Kings picked up another pick, the 50th overall selection.
General manager Dean Lombardi and his staff would use the team's 10 picks to select five forwards, four defensemen and one goaltender.
Most of them are players who won't be making an impact in the near future, and others may be long shots to make the NHL.
With that in mind, here is a closer look at the estimated time of arrival (ETA) for each L.A. draft pick.
Adrian Kempe, Round 1, 29th Overall
It's surprising the Kings were able to select Adrian Kempe so late in the first round, as many scouts projected he would go in the 20-25 range.
The Swedish left winger offers good speed and skill, but more importantly, he has shown maturity with his hockey sense and work ethic. He racked up five goals and six assists for 11 points in 45 games playing for Modo in Sweden last season.
L.A. vice president of hockey operations and director of player personnel Michael Futa spoke about Kempe's style of play with NHL.com's Adam Kimelman.
We feel with Kempe we got somebody who plays a style that [Kings coach] Darryl [Sutter] expects our guys to play with his big-body presence on the wall and his ability to grind opponents down. He runs over people. He always wore a letter with whatever team he was on. He's mean, but he's got some skill set to him. He brings a little different flourish to him. Maybe a Tanner Pearson-style of game with a little more bite.
At 6'2", 187 pounds, Kempe should add some weight in the next year to better his chances of making the Kings roster. It's a team which will be much harder than most to make, even for a player with Kempe's abilities.
Look for Kempe to make his NHL debut in 2015-16, although he may not be a regular in the lineup at that time.
Roland McKeown, Round 1, 50th Overall
From the small town of Listowel, Ontario, comes defenseman Roland McKeown.
McKeown is a versatile, two-way defenseman and a proven leader. McKeown was captain of his midget team, the Toronto Marlboros and captained and won gold at the IIHF World U18 Championship for Canada.
In his past two seasons with the Kingston Frontenacs, he's put up impressive numbers without sacrificing anything in the defensive zone. He had 29 points in 61 games in his rookie campaign in 2011-12 and surpassed that mark this past season with 11 goals and 32 assists for 43 points in 62 games.
McKeown works hard in his own end, can attack off the rush and has a great shot. At 6'1" and weighing nearly 200 pounds, McKeown could be a third-pairing blueliner at the pro level.
For now, he will spend at least another season in the OHL and potentially make his NHL debut in 2016-17.
Alex Lintuniemi, Round 2, 60th Overall
At 6'3", 227 pounds, Alex Lintuniemi already has the frame of a professional defenseman.
The Finnish defender is 18 years old, but he has a late-September birthday, making him a year older than most players in the draft.
In 68 games with the OHL's Ottawa 67's, he racked up four goals and 17 assists for 21 points in 68 games to go along with 26 penalty minutes and a dismal minus-38 rating.
He has some work to do in his development, with improvements needed in terms of skating and positioning. But he already has the physical skill set in place. He's perhaps the type of player who could take on a role similar to that of Matt Greene or Willie Mitchell.
If he does, it probably won't be until 2017-18.
Michael Amadio, Round 3, 90th Overall
Born in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Michael Amadio has spent the past two seasons with the Battalion franchise in the OHL, making the move from Brampton to North Bay.
A center, Amadio made significant progress in his second OHL season. Playing mostly on the second line, he notched 12 goals and 26 assists for 38 points, up from just 19 the year before.
He is 6'1" and weighs just over 190 pounds. He told Neate Sager of Buzzing the Net that he tries to play a similar style to former Battalion star Matt Duchene.
Amadio offers a lot of skill, but he lacks NHL-caliber speed. His ETA is 2017-18.
Steven Johnson, Round 4, 120th Overall
Steven Johnson is 20 years old and was passed over in the NHL draft in his first two years of eligibility.
A defenseman, Johnson stands 6'1" and weighs 185 pounds. Last season he played for the Omaha Lancers of the USHL and notched five goals and 26 assists for 31 points in 56 games. Not bad for his first season in the league.
We’re going to determine that. We have to sit down both with Steven and the University of Minnesota, and map out his development map, which is going to best serve him and all parties involved. Right now, he has the option age-wise to go back to Omaha.
If he did attend the University of Minnesota, it's likely he could play four years there before seeing NHL action. That said, his ETA is at least four years away regardless of where he plays next season.
Alec Dillon, Round 5, 150th Overall
Ranked 13th among North American goaltenders heading into the draft is the towering Alec Dillon.
Dillon is 6'5" and weighs 170 pounds. He spent last season with the Victoria Grizzlies of the BCHL and played in 17 games. He went 8-4-2 with a .911 save percentage and 2.88 goals-against average.
Obviously, his height is an important attribute, but Dillon has a lot of work to do before even making the leap to the AHL.
L.A. scout Brent McEwen spoke to LAKingsInsider.com about the goaltender's abilities.
He’s big. He’s six-four or five. Athletic. I guess you use the word raw. I think there’s a lot of potential, but he’s got a lot of work to do as well. He’s a realy intelligent kid, can do all the work. But we just really feel like he’s got a lot of good tools, but there’s a lot that both Kim and those guys can do with him. He’s just sort of a blank slate, if you want to say it. So that’s wort of where we see it.
Dillon is likely more than five years away from being called up to the NHL.
Jake Marchment, Round 6, 157th Overall
Jake Marchment is a center who seems to have the potential to fit the mold of a typical L.A. fourth-line player.
The nephew of former NHL player Bryan Marchment, Jake is 6'3" and weighs 200 pounds. He suited up for the Belleville Bulls in 2013-14, registering 10 goals and 22 assists for 32 points in 57 games.
In addition, he racked up 53 penalty minutes, courtesy of a number of fights. This included a lengthy scrap with L.A. prospect Kurtis MacDermid.
He still has a long way to go in his development, but he may have the work ethic—not unlike say, Jordan Nolan—to make the NHL someday. But probably not for another five-plus years.
Matthew Mistele, Round 6, 180th Overall
Eighteen years old, but born in October 1995, Matthew Mistele has plenty of OHL experience, having just finished his third season with the Plymouth Whalers.
After averaging nearly a point per game in 2012-13, his production declined slightly this past season, as he notched 18 goals and 19 assists for 37 points in 56 games. He also went from 51st on NHL Central Scouting's rankings earlier in the year to 88th.
L.A. vice president of hockey operations and director of player personnel Michael Futa touched on Mistele's season in speaking with LAKingsInsider.com.
If you look at his underage year, I think he scored 40 goals in his first year in the OHL, and this year there were injuries, suspensions, a lot of drop-off. We’ve got to get him back to where he was. That’s our job as a staff, development staff. But this kid’s got incredible touch, incredible touch.
The overwhelming majority of sixth- and seventh-round picks see limited, if any, NHL time. If Mistele does make it, it won't be for at least five years.
Spencer Watson, Round 7, 209th Overall
Spencer Watson had an excellent season offensively with the Kingston Frontenacs. He scored 33 goals and added 35 assists for 68 points in 65 games, yet his stock dropped, and he was drafted in the seventh round.
At 5'9", 170 pounds, Watson's size is a major question mark. While he has the speed, puck-handling ability, hockey sense and shot, many wonder if he will be able to carry the puck through traffic or win battles for loose pucks.
Watson certainly needs to add some weight and prove to critics that his skill will pay off at the NHL level. Until that time comes, he won't have a shot at suiting up for the Kings.
Jacob Middleton, Round 7, 210th Overall
Finally, the last selection in the 2014 NHL draft, Jacob Middleton.
The defenseman from Stratford, Ontario, stands 6'2" and weighs more than 200 pounds. Last season with the Ottawa 67's of the OHL, he played on the top pairing and saw plenty of ice time on special teams. He recorded two goals and 21 assists for 23 points in 65 games.
However, he must take the steps to improve his skating and become a more consistent shutdown defender. He will play at least another season in the OHL, and from there the Kings will decide what's best for his development. Again, as is the case with all seventh-round picks, we must assume at this point that Middleton won't be making the NHL.
However, he and Spencer Watson do have potential. Hopefully, they will show the other 29 NHL teams they made a mistake in not drafting them.
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